Twitter: What Changes for Companies after Elon Musk’s Delayed Takeover [Update]

Twitter Takeover Elon Musk Reading Tips
Source: Unsplash/Chris J. Davis

Update 07/11: Elon Musk has backed down from his previous position and bought Twitter for 44 billion US dollars after all.

One of Musk’s first acts after the takeover has been to delist Twitter, sacking the CEO and CFO, among others, and now acting as the platform’s boss himself. As part of a cost-saving programme, Musk is also cutting other jobs across the entire workforce.

It is estimated that only half of the staff will return to their Twitter desks after last weekend. As a precaution, the social media company’s office premises remained closed on Friday.

Twitter after the Takeover: What Is Musk Planning?

Among other things, Musk is currently planning to turn Twitter into a »super app«. The Chinese app WeChat, which offers a social network and payment services, is to serve as a role model.

In addition, Twitter is to diversify its revenue sources in order to generate more earnings. Besides a free membership, the social network could soon offer a subscription model for eight dollars a month.

The package is to include the blue tick, which has so far confirmed the authenticity of profiles at no cost, increased post reach, the option to upload longer audios and videos as well as fewer advertisements.

However, many people are questioning to what extent Twitter would remain interesting for companies as an advertising medium, as brand safety would be less guaranteed in such an environment.

They understand Musk’s plan to allow more freedom of speech on the platform to mean that the instant messaging service would be more tolerant of discriminatory content, hate speech and fake news, put a stop to fewer posts and accounts and possibly reactivate the account of former US president Donald Trump.

Twitter May Be Facing New Conflicts

It also remains to been seen whether Twitter’s alleged new content policy will bring Musk into conflict with the law. For example, Twitter still has to comply with the Network Enforcement Act (Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz, NetzDG) in Germany and would have to worry about fines if it were to deal more leniently with controversial content.

The Chinese government, by contrast, could even put Musk’s entire business empire under pressure. In this hypothetical scenario, China would attempt to exert influence on Twitter’s content policy by using Musk’s electric car manufacturer Tesla as leverage.

All in all, Musk has embarked on a challenging venture – especially since Twitter users seem to have lost interest in tweeting even before his takeover, including some very active accounts.

Update 10/07: Elon Musk has terminated his agreement to purchase Twitter. His lawyers cite the allegedly insufficient information on the number of fake accounts as the reason. Twitter has announced that it will take legal action against Musk’s decision.

That is what we call a user-oriented approach. Even before his takeover of Twitter, Elon Musk asked his community what changes they would like to see as part of the platform’s »overhaul«. It is clear that the acquisition of the social network by the Tesla boss will change a lot for the 338.6 million users. However, companies that actively use Twitter as an advertising channel should also keep an eye on future changes. It remains to be seen whether the planned changes will bring users back to the platform or deter them.

Twitter Is to Become More Open to Opinions

Musk’s goal is to make Twitter a »global platform for freedom of speech«, as he feels that freedom of expression on Twitter has been severely limited so far.

With concrete community guidelines, the platform has tried in recent years to take action against hate speech, climate change denial and the like. It is not yet known how Musk intends to deal with this.

However, he has spoken out against the rigorous exclusion of individuals who violate the guidelines and in favour of temporary »timeouts«. Users have already announced that they will leave the platform because of this.

Twitter Features Create More Trust and Cause Less Frustration?!

Although there are many sceptics, Musk has received positive feedback and even suggestions for improvement in his Twitter polls on proposed changes. These include:

Publishing the Algorithm

For more transparency and trust in the platform, Musk wants to make the algorithm open source. This means that all changes to posts can easily be tracked and that users can see which posts have been demoted or promoted.

Taking Action Against Spam Bots

In addition, Musk wants to crack down on spam bots. Especially in the field of cryptocurrency, fake accounts try to scam followers over and over again. That is why Twitter should better authenticate real users in the future.

If the open source solution and better authentication lead to increased trust in the platform, companies can benefit from greater user acceptance.

Edit Button and No Character Limit

Every content creator is familiar with the following situation: You prepare a post with a lot of patience and creativity, read through it three times, proudly press »Tweet« and then realise that there is still a mistake in it. Unfortunately, you have to start all over again because tweets can currently only be deleted, not edited. This is set to change in the future as well:

Another idea is to completely abolish the character limit, which was increased to 280 characters in 2018. This would allow content creators to provide Twitter followers with more context in the future.

Twitter Adopts a New Business Model

Independence from Advertising Revenue

According to the Wall Street Journal, Twitter generated around 90 per cent of its revenue last year through advertising. Nevertheless, Musk wants to make the social network less dependent on advertising revenue and instead bring influencers back to the platform.

This means that companies should think about how they can transform their marketing strategy from direct advertising measures to a credible influencer concept.

Subscription Model

With a subscription model, Musk wants to offer an ad-free paid version and compensate for losses in revenue. With the subscription version »Twitter Blue«, which is currently only available in the USA, Australia and New Zealand, users have access to premium features. Users of this paid version can, for example, already test the edit button.

Companies should keep an eye on new features and the number of users in order to be able to quickly adapt their marketing strategies.

Our 5 Reading Tips of the Week

Why Is Elon Musk Buying Twitter? [HuffPost]

Elon Musk Vows to »Defeat Spam Bots« as $46.5bn Funding Plan for Twitter Takeover Unveiled [Express]

The Pluses and Minuses of Elon Musk’s Twitter Buyout [The Week]

The $44bn Question: Will Musk Wreck or Mend Twitter? [Decision Marketing]

About Twitter Blue [Twitter]

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